It’s going to be a hot run up to the new year. If you’re sweltering and looking for somewhere to escape from the heat, have a look at our list.
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We’re lucky that central Victoria has parks galore. With big shade trees, things for the kids to do and barbecues for that Aussie touch.
Rosalind Park: The Bendigo park has recently received a Green Flag award, ranking it among the best green spaces in Australia. You can duck into the park during your lunch break … or after work … to just sit back and enjoy being outside (without being burnt to a crisp).
White HIlls Botanical gardens: On a hot day you’ll find families and feathered friends looking for a spot to hide.
Lake Weroona: There’s plenty to do and lots of shade around Bendigo’s central lake. Take a walk, have a picnic, stock up at one of the food vans or cafes. It’s a great meeting place on a hot day.
Kennington Reservoir: On any day you’ll meet people walking and running, or looking at the wildlife on the ponds. There is also adjoining bushland you can explore.
Castlemaine Botanical Garden: It’s a delightful spot, with ponds, and trees, tea-houses and play equipment. It’s very easy to spend a bit of time here – and a place to walk when it’s hot as many paths are under shade.
Daylesford’s Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens: There are trees there more than a century old. In the cool of their shade you can picnic.
Mount Alexander: Go for a hike under towering trees, through ferns, up hill and down dale. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a breeze.
Echuca Regional Park: Forest and the Murray. What a great cool-off combo.
The pools have opened. Must be summer. It’s time to put on the bathers and head out for some inland cooling off.
CITY OF GREATER BENDIGO
Long Gully Splash Park
Faith Leech Aquatic Centre
Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre
Peter Krenz Leisure Centre
GANNAWARRA SHIRE POOLS
Kerang Exercise Pool
MOUNT ALEXANDER SHIRE
Newstead and District
Before we had backyard pools and spas we used to run through a sprinkler on hot days. Time to reinvent this childhood delight. It uses less water than a pool and can help your garden at the same time.
You could also buy an inflatable pool or slide for a make-shift water park in the backyard.
Dunking your feet in a bucket of cool water can also help bring down your temperature. Ever thought of keeping one beside your bed for those clammy nights?
The same goes for an ice-pack (you can use many of the hot packs cold). Even one of the old-fashion ice packs where you can fill it full of cubed ice can be a treat. And the cold packs from your Esky (wrapped in cloth to prevent injuries) can be called into action.
The midday sun is no place to be out in for those looking to beat the heat.
Head to a cinema, an art gallery or museum, or maybe a coffee shop for an iced coffee, iced tea or a cold brew. The bigger shopping centres are also a haven.
Try dropping into a local art gallery or museum. You might pick up Christmas gifts along the week.
The Bendigo Art Gallery: Daughters of the Sun: Christine Waller and Klytie Pate; Gothic Beauty: Victorian notions of love, loss and spirituality; Damon Moon Subject/Object are on show. Pictures from the collection of Mexian artist Frida Kahlo go on display this weekend. Details: 42 View Street, Bendigo Open daily including public holidays (closed Christmas Day), 10am - 5pm
Golden Dragon Museum: Interpret and preserves Chinese heritage in Australia. There is also a tea room and gift shop. Details: The Golden Dragon Museum is open daily from 9:30am-5.00pm each week from Tuesday to Sunday. 1-11 Bridge Street, Bendigo. Closed for some public holidays, please check.
Castlemaine Art Museum: A variety of exhibits are on display. Details: 14 Lyttleton Street (PO Box 248) Castlemaine, Vic 3450 Australia. Open Thursday to Sunday inclusive, 12.00pm-5.00pm, including most public holidays (that fall on those days). Closed Christmas Day and Easter Monday and Good Friday.
Kyneton Museum: The collection is in a National Trust building that was built in 1856 as a Bank of New South Wales. Exhibitions are in the from banking chamber. The bank manager’s upstairs residence is preserved in time. Details: 67 Piper Street, Kyneton. Normal operating hours are Friday to Sunday, 11am–4pm. Closed from December 16 to January 4.
Echuca: The Foundary Art Space was opened in December 2015 by the Echuca Moama Arts Initiative (EMAI). Details: Murray Esplanade, Echuca. Open daily, 10am - 4pm. Closed Tuesdays and Christmas Day.
Maryborough: Central Goldfield Art Gallery is an historic fire station built in 1861, a short walk from the CBD. Details: 2 Neill Street, Maryborough. Opening hours are Thursday to Sunday 10am to 4pm.
There’s nothing quite like finding a stream to put your feet in (and cool down your drink) when the weather’s hot. Find a picnic spot, set up your umbrella and just watch the world go by. Throw a line in. You might come home with dinner.
Serpentine Creek: It’s close to Bendigo and there’s plenty of ways to mess around in the water. Check out the Canoe Trail.
Campapse River: Meanders from near Trentham to Echuca, where it meets the Murray River. Its tributary, the Coliban River, joins it at Lake Eppalock. Turpins Falls, about 12km from Kyneton, is one of a number of waterfalls and deep pools along its length. Have a look at our picture gallery to see what it’s like in full flow.
Goulburn River: The river rises near Woods Point, in the highlands above Lake Eildon, and in its middle reaches flows past the popular Lake Nagambie, a water sports hub. It then flows across country to the Murray near Echuca. There are plenty of spots along its length to find some peace and quiet.
Murray River: If you head to the mighty Murray you’ll find inland beaches with towering gums nearby under which to take shade. There’s some great picnic grounds where you can fish, swim, kayak or just laze about. Many also have barbecues to sling in a sausage or prawn. It might inspire you to join the Mighty Murray paddle next year.
If reservoirs are more your thing, try
Crusoe Reservoir & No 7 Park: Swimming, boating, fishing, walks. And all at Kangaroo Flat.
Expedition Pass Reservoir: It’s just outside Chewton, near Castlemaine, and on hot day you’ll find people dotted around its shores swimming, picnicing, fishing and bird watching. A little gem.
Lake Eppalock: Close to Bendigo, Castlemaine and Heathcote and heaps of water sports to be tried.
The temperature rises and everybody heads to the beach – where it’s crowded and you’re likely to end up looking like a lobster. There’s another way. Head higher, into the hills. It’s always a few degrees cooler at places like Daylesford, Hepburn, Trentham and Mount Macedon. Further afield you could try the Grampians or the highlands above Seymour. You might also find a spot away from the crowds.
Daylesford: Cafes, parks, a lake to stroll around. Trees, trees and more trees at the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens. Daylesford may be a winter hotspot, but in summer it’s normally cooler than its neighbours and there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Sailors Creek, which winds around the town from the falls of the same name to Hepburn Springs, has plenty of places to cool off. You could even do a bit of gold fossicking. Keep an eye out for snakes.
Hepburn Springs: The home of the renowned mineral reserve and spa (where you could easily spend a few hours) also has some lovely shaded walks, cafes and places for down time.
Trentham: Falls, parks, funky eateries, gardens and walks. It may be small but it packs a punch. And it’s one of the cooler places in Victoria. Even in summer.
Mount Macedon: Drive up the mountain and you enter another world. Cool, leafy. A perfect spot on a hot day.
You don’t need a fancy ice cream machine (although it helps) to make some cool treats for summer. There are plenty of hacks around to help you.
Silicone tubes filled with juice, flavoured water or milky drinks can easily be whizzed up.
You can make a basic ice-cream mixture (eggs, milks, cream, sweetener of choice) part freeze it in a tray and “churn” it (break it up with a fork) midway through to make your own ice-cream.
If you like it more watery, try granita – icy, icy goodness.
There’s plenty of options.
Here’s one to tempt you
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Let the freezer do the work: first, freeze watermelon overnight, then turn it into a creamy two-ingredient ice-cream on a biscuit base. Refreeze it and it's ready to go.
1kg watermelon flesh (seedless), chopped
300g sweetened condensed milk
For the base
250g sweet biscuits (I used Chocolate Ripple)
150g butter, melted
1. Arrange the chopped watermelon on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and freeze overnight.
2. To make the biscuit base, whiz the biscuits in a food processor, then add the melted butter and whiz until fine-crumbed. Press into the base of a straight-sided lamington tin lined with baking paper, and place in the freezer to firm up.
3. Remove the watermelon from the freezer, soften at room temperature for five minutes, then whiz in a food processor with the sweetened condensed milk for two minutes until smooth.
4. Pour the watermelon mixture over the biscuit base and freeze overnight. Remove from the tin, cut into slices or squares and serve immediately.
Serving suggestion: serve with a small, chilled wedge of watermelon or a spoonful of berries.
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Want more recipes? See our Seven simple, and tasty, ways to deal with a hot snap
Or, if you’re looking for something uniquely Australian, try our, er, Vegemite Icy Poles
And if making it sounds like too much trouble, how about an ice-cream “pub crawl” – from ice cream place, to cold drinks to dinner outside (preferably with a fan blowing).
The air conditioner’s blaring and you can’t be bothered cooking. But you’ve promised yourselve you’ll eat better ahead of Christmas (step away from the take aways). What’s the answer?
Try some of our light, luscious recipes to keep you on track as the mercury rises
And finish it off with our Ultimate Summer Fruit Platter or one of our icy creation suggestions above.
How about a picnic? Or maybe a midnight feast somewhere.
Pack up the edibles and head out to a lake or reservoir (see list above) once the sun is going down and (hopefully) the heat is easing off. There’s something terrific about an evening swim, if you find the right spot.
Maybe find a great spot to sit outside and watch the stars. Don’t miss the yearly Geminids meteor shower, which started on December 4 and will peak on December 14.
When the days are too hot to bear, the nights can be a balmy release.
There’s plenty going on around central Victoria’s cities this summer – particularly in the parks. Check out our What’s On: Things to Do page
It’s also a great chance to check out the Christmas decorations and lights that have been going up.
Try these hacks for lowering the temperature and getting a good night’s sleep.
- Fans and airconditioning are obvious solutions but what about a hand fan, for that personal touch.
- Put a pan of cold water/iced water in front of your fan for an instant air conditioner.
- Sleep low to the ground. Afterall, hot air rises. Try a thinner mattress which retains less heat. String up a hammock for airflow all round or camp in your back garden (mind the mozzies). People even sleep on their trampoline!
- Turn off the lights. They generate heat. Instead, try candles – not only do they create mood lighting but they keep the heat levels down.
- Don’t forget to drink lots of water. Dehydration is a risk during hot weather, so keep a glass of H20 by the bed.
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